Running rampant

Sprecher sparks Demons to 35-14 win over Minot High

Garrick Hodge/MDN Minot High’s Kyler Stenberg (20) returns a punt during a high school football game Friday at Duane Carlson Stadium in Minot.

In a highly anticipated early season clash between two powerhouse football programs, the West Region conference opener for both Minot High and Bismarck High produced another Demons’ victory at Duane Carlson Stadium, 35-14.

Four touchdowns by Bismarck High senior running back Jalen Sprecher by weaving in and out of the Magicians’ defense set the tone for the Demons (2-1, 1-0 West Region) fourth straight victory over Minot High (1-2, 0-1 West Region) in the last three seasons.

Bismarck High came into the contest following a 41-0 shutout loss to No. 1-ranked West Fargo in Week 2.

“It feels great, especially after the poor performance that we put on last week against West Fargo,” BHS coach Mark Gibson said. “I think we did some soul searching… That was the hardest thing, to see us regress from Week 1 to Week 2. West Fargo is a great football team, not taking anything away from them. I don’t think we fought, so that was the biggest thing tonight. We fought.”

It’s the first time the Magi have started a season 1-2 overall since 2002.

Garrick Hodge/MDN MHS quarterback Creighton Rudolph (17) rolls out to attempt a pass.

From the get go, it wasn’t an ideal start for Minot. A fumble by Minot’s Peyton Lamoureux on the opening drive of the game set up Bismarck on the Magi’s 39-yard line.

A few plays later, Sprecher bounced around and broke free for a 28-yard touchdown to give the Demons a quick 7-0 lead, one minute and 37 seconds into the contest.

After converting a fourth and inches in their own territory to ignite the second drive, Minot marched down the field to even the score, 7-7. Senior quarterback Creighton Rudolph picked out senior Dylan Danielson on a 20-yard crossing route with 5:58 remaining in the opening quarter.

“We choose at the beginning of the game that we were going to be in attack mode,” MHS coach Barry Holmen said. “We went after them, but we really missed some opportunities early in the game.”

The Demons tried to copy Minot’s formula for success on their second drive with a fourth and inches pick up in their own territory, but the Magi eventually forced the first punt of the game.

A second fumble by Lamoureux on a muffed punt at the start of the second quarter set up Bismarck on Minot’s 32-yard line. Lamoureux was taken off the hook, however, as the Minot defense held firm to force a turnover on downs.

The Magi couldn’t do the same the next time Bismarck had the ball. Unable to wrap up the elusive Sprecher throughout the drive, the senior crossed over the goal line for his second touchdown of the night from 4 yards out with 6:38 left before halftime.

A costly holding penalty on third down and a pair over throws from Rudolph to Lamoureux streaking to the end zone prevented the Magi from scoring at the end of the first half.

“We had some open receivers and we didn’t connect,” Holmen said. “That’s fine. The ball is going in the right place. We just didn’t execute.”

Sprecher, going the other way, nearly got the Demons in range to increase their lead at halftime. But, they ran out of time after a completed pass from junior quarterback Will Madler reached the red zone. Bismarck held a 14-7 lead at the intermission.

Handoff after handoff to Sprecher to start the second half gashed the Minot defense. The Demons didn’t even have to run a pass play. Sprecher eventually extended Bismarck’s lead to 21-7 on a short distance bruising run for his third touchdown of the contest.

With Bismarck grinding out the clock near the end of the third quarter, Lamoureux halted the Demons with a one-handed interception in the end zone. But, nothing came out of it, except another Minot punt.

That spurred another lengthy trip down the field for Bismarck and ended with yet another Sprecher touchdown. This time it was through the air, as Madler found him in space out of the backfield and Sprecher did the rest from 28 yards out to put the Demons up 28-7.

Needed to score in a hurry. Minot senior running back Adrian Davis-Aguilar delivered by ripping off a 59-yard touchdown run 23 seconds after the Bismarck score to cut the deficit back to 14 points at 28-14.

Over five minutes of offense from Bismarck helped close out the contest and fullback Jared Rath pounded in the final points on a 4-yard run up the middle with 2:26 remaining, 35-14.

“I really just challenged our team right now,” Holmen said. “We are plenty OK. There is no panic button here. But, we have to get better. There is a challenge to these guys right now that they stick together, work hard, learn our responsibilities, execute better and we have to go. Pin our ears back and go, and we didn’t do that tonight for the whole time.”

No individual stats were provided.

The Magi have a road game against Williston next on Friday at 8 p.m. While the Demons head back to Bismarck for a span of four straight home contest starting with Mandan on Thursday.

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.